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Cruising with the crew of CALOU on the Baja Ha-ha and Pacific Puddle Jump
01/22/2010, Oaxaca, Oaxaca State, Mexico

We drove a couple hundred miles south to the historic city of Oaxaca. This ancient city has pre-Columbian history and architecture dating back to 600 A.D. We toured the grounds of Monte Alban, a 7th century mountaintop city, and the nearby village of Mitla, where the Zapotec temple ruins are in such good condition they look brand new. The photo of us here is at Mitla with its exquisitely well preserved stone walls.

Mexico Sailing Trip 2008-2011
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01/20/2010, near Puebla, Puebla Mexico

Along the road to Puebla, we have magnificent views of snow capped volcanoes, including this one, Popocatépetl.

Popocatépetl is an active volcano and, at 5,426 m (17,800 ft), the second highest peak in Mexico after the Pico de Orizaba (5,636 m/18,490 ft). Popocatépetl is linked to the Iztaccíhuatl volcano to the north by the high saddle known as the Paso de Cortés, and lies in the eastern half of the Trans-Mexican volcanic belt.

Mexico Sailing Trip 2008-2011
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01/20/2010 | Jolea
Video tour of Puebla
01/20/2010, Puebla, Mexico

We visited Puebla, Mexico's 4th largest city, whose historic center is filled with 16th century Spanish and French architecture. Due to its history and architectural styles ranging from Renaissance to Mexican Baroque, the city was named a World Heritage Site. The city was founded in 1531 in an area called Cuetlaxcoapan which means "where serpents change their skin." The city was originally called "Los Angeles". The original name of the city was "Puebla de Los Angeles".

Besides its architecture, the city is famous for its cuisine, including "mole poblano", (which means, Puebla style mole), a sauce made of 50 different ingredients including chili peppers, peanuts, chocolate, and cinnamon. Chicken prepared with mole poblano is considered the Mexican national dish.

The city is at 2200 m (7000 ft), so daytime temperatures are moderate year round and cool at night. It is surrounded by snow capped volcanoes, with elevations of 5500 m (18,000 ft).

We stayed at a very nice hotel near the town center called Real Santander. We would recommend the excellent restaurant, "Mural Poblano", located near the town square. Exquisite food and reasonable prices.

Mexico Sailing Trip 2008-2011
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The main street in Tepoztlan with its rustic church and the majestic mountain backdrop.

Mexico Sailing Trip 2008-2011
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Hike to Tepozteco (video)

Mexico Sailing Trip 2008-2011
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closeup of Mayan temple Tepozteco
01/18/2010, Tepoztlan

This is a closeup view from the previous photo, of the Mayan temple Tepozteco.

Mexico Sailing Trip 2008-2011
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Climbing the Cliffs at Tepoztlan

We spent the night at a posada in the town of Tepoztlan, which means "place of abundant copper" in the Nuahtl language. This is a literally magical city, as it seems to have spiritual significance to many. The town is bordered by enormous cliffs, a thousand feet high. We climbed a trail straight up one of these cliffs, to visit an ancient Mayan temple (circled in the photo). It was quite a hike but the view at the top made it worth it.

The town is a bustle of activity, with hundreds of good restaurants, bars, a farmer's market, craftsmen, etc. Throughout the day and into the evening the streets are so filled with pedestrians that it is barely possible to drive a car.

The photo here is from our room looking toward the cliffs. The Mayan temple Tepozteco is just catching the morning light at the very top.

Mexico Sailing Trip 2008-2011
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We visited the 8th century Mayan temple at Xochicalco, near Cuernavaca. Behind us is the magnificent Temple of the Feathered Serpent. The carvings on the side depict the different cultures that the Mayans knew about in the 4th century, including Asians. The Asians are depicted with beards, and a symbol indicating that they crossed the ocean to get there (a foot on the ground, separated by water & waves, and another foot on the other side of the water).

The name Xochicalco may be translated from Nahuatl as "in the (place of the) house of Flowers". The apogee of Xochicalco came after the fall of Teotihuacan and it has been speculated that Xochicalco may have played a part in the fall of the Teotihuacan empire.

The architecture and iconography of Xochicalco show affinities with Teotihuacan, the Maya area, and the Matlatzinca culture of the Toluca Valley. Today some residents of the nearby village of Cuentepec speak Nahuatl.

The main ceremonial center is atop an artificially leveled hill, with remains of residential structures, mostly unexcavated, on long terraces covering the slopes. The site was first occupied by 200 BC, but did not develop into an urban center until the Epiclassic period (A.D. 700 - 900). Nearly all the standing architecture at the site was built at this time. At its peak, the city may have had a population of up to 20,000 people.

Mexico Sailing Trip 2008-2011
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01/18/2010 | Lou Freeman
Fascinating narrative. You might be interested in a book by a retired UK naval officer titled 1410 - the Year China Discovered the World. They were here 80 years before Columbus. Wow the boys are growing. Best to all.
01/18/2010 | Bruce
in fact, the Mayans recorded the presence of the bearded Asians (possibly Chinese) on this monument in AD 700.

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